The Department of Justice has launched an investigation of Harvard University over its use of race in making admission decisions, threatening to sue the school if its diversity program fails to conform to federal law, CNN reported.
READ MORE: DOJ Targets Affirmative Action
This investigation stems from a complaint filed in 2015 from Asian Americans that Harvard’s admissions policy is discriminatory, DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur said, adding that the department opposes illegal race-based discrimination.
The DOJ began exploring ways to pressure institutions of higher education to end affirmative action based admissions policies that “discriminate against White applicants,” the New York Times reported in August. An internal DOJ announcement to the department’s civil rights division sought lawyers to work on investigating universities that the Trump administration believes are noncompliant with federal laws. Under the project, the attorneys would conduct “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” The announcement used coded language that did not identify the race of students harmed by the intentional discrimination. However, it hints that the intention is to target admission strategies that promote diversity that benefits Black and Hispanic students.
The Justice Department is threatening to file a lawsuit if Harvard fails to provide documentation about its admissions process by Dec. 1, CNN reported. Two letters from the department’s Civil Rights Division indicated that the university has challenged the DOJ’s authority to investigate its program. The DOJ’s move is long overdue many conservative argue, saying that too many schools discriminate against Whites and Asians. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld race conscious college admissions policies in a 2016 case, ruling that race can be one factor among others in the selection process.